Friday, September 11, 2015

Back when Riverdale road was muddy, not congested

 RIVERDALE Road in Weber County, Utah today is an ordeal in driving through heavy traffic. However, 93 years ago, the highway, a main thoroughfare between Ogden and Salt Lake, was a different kind of adventure.
“Cars stall in mud. Team required to drag adventurous motorists to safety on highway” was a March 18, 1922 Standard-Examiner headline.
Three feet of heavy mud blocked the road at a point likely just east of today’s Riverdale Road overpass at the Weber River – and there was no detour to be found back then. Horse teams had to be mobilized to pull several autos that became firmly imbedded in the mud. Then, the horse teams kept busy all morning in hauling cars across the heavy sea of mud and sand.
More historical tidbits:
-“Death Curve” in Roy, where today’s Riverdale Road meets 1900 West, has long been a dangerous place.
“Will put sign at Death Curve” was an Aug. 30, 1926 Standard headline. After three vehicles had turned over taking the sharp turn, causing 11 injuries, a sign was placed near there that stated, “Death Curve ahead. Be careful.”
A Roy resident near the curve said his fences are broken frequently by accidents there and trees are impossible to grow there, being broken off.
-Before 1905, Riverdale Road or 24th Street were the only ways to access Kanesville or Hooper from Ogden. It was that year that the “Sand Ridge Cut Off” was built in a very sandy, barren area, a road roughly where today’s 30-31st Street heads west to Roy.
-Some 70 stop signs were placed along the length of Washington Avenue/Highway 91 (today’s Washington Boulevard) in late November of 1927 at various intersections to improve safety. Other signs were erected to show where various side roads led.
This was all part of an effort for better signage along the main highway through Utah, between Idaho and Arizona.
-A historic flagpole was erected on Lewis Peak back on Sept. 28, 1916, according to a report in the Standard on Oct. 2 of that year. Participants drove to the top of the North Ogden Divide by auto and then most of the party hiked or used horses to haul materials to the peak. The peak’s namesake, Lewis W. Shurtliff and a few other old-timers, Harry Newman and H.H. Frank, watched the younger members climb the mountain.
Some members of the party had to hike down the west side of the mountain to obtain water to mix with the cement used for the pole. A U.S. Flag was also placed there. Shurtliff was in the first group known to climb the 8,031-foot peak back on June 6, 1852 with two other boys, Martin H. Harris and Ira N. Tiffany. Lewis Peak is located northeast of Ogden’s Five Points.

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